Hyderabad: It is not just a ‘bandi’ that serves hot and delicious tiffin. It, in fact, is the ‘bandi’ that incubated several innovative ideas to come up with newer varieties of dosa. Yes, the popular one-stop destination for crisp and tasty dosas and idlis — Ram ki Bandi.
Having started in 1989 by Ram Shinde’s father Lakshman Rao Shinde, the tiffin ‘bandi’ was the sole income source for the family. They served regular dosas, idlis and managed to pull their household for the next hardworking day.
Recalls 34-year-old Ram Shinde, “I was already a businessman when I was just eight years old. But back then it was just something that came to me naturally, but now I know how to perfectly channelise my business skills.” He adds he would help his father at the stall every morning – cut vegetables, wash utensils, serve customers – and then rush to school.
After several years of doing the same thing, Ram was yearning for something new. That’s when he came across a man who makes pizzas. “He was adding veggies and cheese to the pizza base. Seeing him do that, I got an instant thought – why not experiment the same with dosa?” he shares.
But then adding cheese, paneer, and veggies directly on the dosa was getting a little problematic as the dosa would get way crispier till the toppings settle well. That’s when Ram’s father Lakshman chipped in with a suggestion of adding upma so that it might blend well with the toppings and also be quite fulfilling and satisfying to customers. And that’s how ‘Pizza Dosa’ was introduced to Hyderabadis.
Beyond his experiment with various kinds of dosas and idlis, it was his idea of opening his stall at 3 am in the morning that caught quite a rush. “As several companies would finish their shifts and many truck drivers pass through Nampally early in the mornings, I thought why not cater to them by starting a few hours early,” Ram shares.
That idea instantly brought fame to the tiffin outlet across the city. However, post-lockdown he opens only at 4 am as several offices are still working from home.
From a ‘bandi’ to a chain of outlets
Ram Shinde had always dreamt big, but the lack of funds chained his dreams. However, looking at his hard work and determination, two of his regular customers – Sachin and Harsh Jain – offered an investment so he could expand his business in the city. Now, Ram has five outlets in the city and more will come up in the next few months.
He recently opened a stall at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport and also is geared up to open one in the Sainikpuri area. However, his Nampally stall, where it all began, is still the head office, he shares with a smile. Ram’s experimentation continues and now, he wants to add dry fruit dosa, gold dosa, silver dosa, and more to the menu.
“I want to create a strong franchise based in Hyderabad first and then expand to other cities and finally other countries,” says Ram Shinde.
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